Pronoun Antecedent Agreement

Contributor: Beth Price. Lesson ID: 10092

Billy and Jose went to Billy and Jose's favorite store to by Billy and Jose some food because Billy and Jose were hungry. Learn how to use pronouns and antecedents to avoid such silly sentences!



English / Language Arts
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


When we write, it is important that the words sound natural and conversational. Do these sentences sound "right" when you read them?

  1. President Lincoln delivered President Lincoln's speech in 1863.

  1. The children laughed when the children saw the clown.

Let's work and see how we can use pronouns to fix these sentences!

Start off by refreshing your memory on pronouns.

Pronoun A pronoun is word that can take the place of a noun.

Common pronouns include:

  • I
  • he
  • she
  • it
  • we
  • they
  • us
  • you
  • him
  • her

Have your parent or teacher write the pronouns below on index cards or sticky notes and tape them on the walls around the room:

  • they
  • he
  • she
  • it
  • you

Next, you or your parent or teacher will read the following sentences. The underlined word(s) can be replaced by a pronoun. After reading the sentence, run to the pronoun that can be used to replace the noun(s):

  1. John likes to play with blocks and cars.

  1. Pam has a cat named Fifi.

  1. The spider has a sticky web.

  1. Todd, Sue, and Bob enjoy reading stories.

  1. I like playing by myself, but now I want to play with Sam.

Now that you have reviewed pronouns, look at the sentences you read at the beginning of the lesson.

How can we use pronouns to make these sentences sound better or more natural?

  • President Lincoln delivered President Lincoln's speech in 1863.
  • President Lincoln delivered his speech in 1863.
  • The children laughed when the children saw the clown.
  • The children laughed when they saw the clown.

In the sentences above, we replaced a noun in the sentence with a pronoun.

However, when we replace a noun with a pronoun we must be careful. The pronoun must agree with the noun or pronoun it refers to (the antecedent). A singular pronoun must be used when referring to a singular noun. A plural pronoun must be used when referring to a plural noun. This is called pronoun antecedent agreement.

Take a look at some examples of sentences that demonstrate pronoun antecedent agreement:

  • She had oatmeal for her breakfast.
  • The pronoun her agrees with its antecedent She. Both are singular.
  • The workers started their meeting.
  • The pronoun their agrees with its antecedent workers. Both are plural.
  • Mom, Aunt Carol, and Grandma went to see a play, and they had a great time.
  • The pronoun they agrees with its antecedent Mom, Aunt Carol, and Grandma. Both are plural.
  • Tom went to the store and he bought milk and cookies.
  • The pronoun he agrees with its antecedent Tom. Both are singular.

Now, look at some examples of sentences in which the pronoun does not agree with its antecedent:

  • The little boy could not find their cat.
  • Here, the plural pronoun their does not agree with the singular noun boy (the antecedent).
  • The horses ate his hay in the barn.
  • Again, the singular pronoun his does not agree with the plural noun horses.
  • The girls wanted hot dogs for her dinner.
  • The plural noun girls is followed by a singular pronoun her. The pronoun does not agree with its antecedent.

After reading the examples of sentences without pronoun antecedent agreement, you can see that these sentences can be confusing for the reader!

Continue on to the Got It? section to go on a pronoun scavenger hunt!

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